Lynne Murphy lynnem at COGS.SUSX.AC.UK
Wed Jan 24 18:27:22 UTC 2001

--On Wednesday, January 24, 2001 10:49 am -0500 "Douglas G. Wilson"
<douglas at NB.NET> wrote:

> Partridge (8th ed.) gives several lines to this word. It is given as
> distinct from another "naff" [= (1) female privates, (2) nothing, (3)
> euphemism as in "Naff off!" etc.].
> The adjective "naff" = "tacky"/"vulgar" supposedly comes from theatrical
> slang, from the 1960's according to a Paul Beale correspondent. This
> apparently was attached to the backronym by the 1980's.
> Thorne says "naff" dates from the 1930's, but I think he's combining what
> are separate entries in Partridge (the early use given as prostitutes'
> slang for "nothing" [this one has an acronym/backronym too, something like
> "not a f*cking fart"]).
> The origins appear to be obscure. It's not clear whether the different
> words "naff" are related.

New Oxford D of E treats naff=go away (euphemism) and naff=lacking style as
homonyms.  The former may be related to 'eff off', the latter is 'of
unknown origin'.


M Lynne Murphy
Lecturer in Linguistics
School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9QH

phone +44-(0)1273-678844
fax   +44-(0)1273-671320

More information about the Ads-l mailing list